The impact of rheumatoid arthritis on the household work performance of women

Arthritis Rheum. 1991 Jun;34(6):669-78. doi: 10.1002/art.1780340607.


We conducted a study to assess whether and to what degree household work disability exists in women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to examine the role of health versus family and personal factors as predictors of household work disability. In addition, the participation of other family members and paid employees in household work was evaluated. One hundred forty-two women with RA and 58 female friends/neighbors completed questionnaires which assessed household work performance and health, family, and personal variables. Performance was measured in 4 ways: the current amount of time spent on household work, the proportion of the household work done, and the changes in time and proportion since just before the onset of RA. Functional status was measured via the Health Assessment Questionnaire. Pain, anxiety and depression, and general health perception were measured via the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales. The results indicate that household work disability exists in women with RA, but is substantial only in women with moderate-to-severe disease. In families in which the wife/mother has moderate-to-severe RA, the other family members spend 7 hours more per week on household work than in control families, but there was no increase in the use of paid household employees. Health factors were the strongest predictors of household work disability, but family and personal factors also had significant effects. Household work disability in women with moderate or severe RA merits more attention because of the importance of household work to family functioning and the negative effects that changes in this area can produce.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Household Work*
  • Humans
  • Work Capacity Evaluation*